Criminal Law in Oklahoma
The bottom line of this article is that it's imperative that you consult with an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney, if you or a loved one has been arrested for an Oklahoma crime.
In this article (which is based upon Oklahoma criminal law), we'll discuss:
- Oklahoma criminal laws;
- What you need to know about criminal defense in Oklahoma; and
- How to work with your Oklahoma criminal defense attorney.
Your individual situation must be fully analyzed by a criminal defense lawyer to determine the strongest strategy for your best defense. You can find many lawyers to choose from by doing an Internet search for "How to find an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney".
Oklahoma Criminal Laws
Oklahoma crimes and punishments are found in the Oklahoma Criminal Code - this is Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes. (Statutes are written laws, passed by a legislature - not by the courts.) Title 21 is also known as the "Penal Code of the State of Oklahoma".
Examples of Oklahoma crimes include animal cruelty, bad checks, burglary and trespass, defrauding a public utility, arson, theft and robbery, embezzlement, money laundering, drug possession with the intent to deliver, and disorderly conduct.
Ask your criminal defense attorney to explain the crime you are being charged with. You need to know.
Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred. These time limits are a part of criminal procedure and are found in Title 22 of the Oklahoma Statutes = Oklahoma Criminal Code.
For example, in Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for:
- Burglary is 3 years (Okla. Stat. В§22-152(H)).
- Disorderly Conduct ("Disturbance by Loud or Unusual Noise or Abusive, Violent, Obscene, Profane or Threatening Language")(Okla. Stat. В§22-152(H)).
- Murder (first degree) and Murder (second degree) are unlimited (Okla. Stat. В§22-151)).
Ask your criminal defense lawyer if the statute of limitations may be a complete defense in your particular case.
Most Oklahoma crimes are categorized as misdemeanors or felonies.
- Misdemeanors are less serious offenses and are punishable by fines and up to a year in jail.
- Felonies are more serious offenses and are punishable by fines and more than a year in jail.
In addition to jail and fines, punishments such as probation, counseling, educational training, community service, restitution, and capital punishment are available.
Although judges often have discretion, Oklahoma has sentencing guidelines that provide standard punishments in an attempt to encourage uniformity in sentencing.
- A first offense DUI is punishable with a fine of up to $100 and between 10 days and one year in jail. Subsequent offenses for DUI have much stronger punishments.
- Child abuse is punishable by up to life in prison.
- Writing bad checks can land you in jail for up to 10 years with a $5,000 fine.
An experienced Oklahoma criminal defense attorney will let you know the potential criminal sentence in your case.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense
Your life, liberty, and money may be at risk. Being arrested will affect your job, family, friends, and financial life.
- Attorneys are not all the same. You need a qualified Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer, immediately. Select a lawyer who focuses his or her practice on criminal defense.
- What you say to your attorney is confidential. You need to be completely honest and open with your attorney.
- What you say can and will be used against you. Do not make a statement to police, other than to ask for an attorney. The police are not your friends and nothing you say to them is confidential. Your words can be used against you.
How to Work with an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer
Your defense depends upon your cooperation and good sense. You must be an active team player in your own defense. Keep this in mind, always.
- You're paying for legal advice. Take it. Your attorney knows better than you do.
- Even if you think something will make you look bad, disclose it.
- Return your lawyer's phone calls promptly.
- Provide all requested information in a timely manner.
- If your phone number or address changes, update your attorney immediately.
- Your attorney may ask you hard questions or make you angry. This is normal and okay.
- Your attorney will likely be polite and cooperative with police officers, alleged victims, investigators, witnesses, and the prosecutor. Again, this is normal and okay.
Bottom Line: Your criminal defense lawyer understands the Oklahoma Criminal Code, applicable statute of limitations, the criminal charges against you, how to negotiate with prosecutors, how to communicate with the judge and jury, and how to best put forward a strong and strategic defense. Your next step is to contact an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney now.